3D printing facilitates individualised, complex component design and is gaining a foothold in toolmaking and fixture manufacturing, as well as in medical technology and transportation. Simon Dursch, technical director of 3D printing at CINTEG AG in Göppingen, lists some of the advantages of additive technology and reveals which trade fair highlights his company will bring to Motek/Bondexpo 2021 in Stuttgart.
3D printing has already penetrated numerous production processes. Please give us a few examples that illustrate the advantages of 3D printing.
- Considerable time and cost savings in toolmaking thanks to on-demand 3D printing: Tooling and fixtures are special components developed by the manufacturing engineer to solve specific problems in the factory. 3D-printed tooling can be replaced in just a few hours instead of several days, and today’s high-performance plastics are tough, lightweight and far more cost-effective.
- Reduced time to market: 3D printing can contribute to quicker fulfilment of increasing consumer demand for new products by shortening time-to-market. Where 3D printing is involved, designers work out their concepts with the help of CAD software. These drafts are then 3D-printed in order to produce functional prototypes. Design engineers and developers can make use of these 3D-printed models in order to evaluate the respective design and test its functions. This method is very quick as compared with conventional processes.
- Avoidance of waste thanks to additive manufacturing: Numerous components are manufactured in the automotive industry with the help of CNC machining processes. Components are “carved” out of a solid aluminium or steel block by means of this so-called chip removing process. The biggest problem with this type of production method is the resultant waste. Collection, cleaning and recycling of metal chips is time-consuming and costly. With 3D printing, much of this cleaning work is eliminated.
- Increased quality of life thanks to individualised, custom-made products: 3D printing has an enormous impact on people who require prosthetic limbs. Prostheses are complex, demanding systems designed to replace human body parts. The individual products have to be perfectly matched to the respective patient in order to function effectively. 3D printing is revolutionising the processes used to design and manufacture prosthetic limbs, because it allows them to be fully customised.
- Reduced weight thanks to complex component design: Aviation and aerospace companies are always looking for new ways to make their aircraft lighter. Each gram of weight reduction translates into more capacity for passengers or freight. But maintaining the strength and stability of the aircraft is of course also of essential significance. Design engineers often resort to complex matrix designs in order to meet this requirement. However, these components are difficult to manufacture using conventional machining technologies. 3D printing is the ideal solution for the production of complex components of this sort.
Which industry sectors benefit most from 3D printing technology?
- Machinery/equipment manufacturing and automation
- The automotive industry
- Aviation and aerospace
- Consumer goods
- Medical technology
- The bus and railway industry
- Arts and fashion
Which technological obstacles will have to be overcome during further development of 3D printing?
- 3D printing accuracy
- 3D printing speed
- Lack of knowledge / training for printing-ready design
- Missing or inadequate material properties
Which specific target group is your company approaching?
3D printing is very versatile. Basically we approach all of the target groups in the sectors mentioned above – regardless of whether large or small companies are involved. 3D printing provides an extremely large portfolio of solutions with a great variety of possible applications.
Which trade fair highlight will you present at the “3D Special Show” during Motek/Bondexpo 2021 in Stuttgart?
- Live demonstration of a 3D printer in action
- Reverse engineering
- 3D scanner
- Full colour 3D printing